SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2012
Baseball falls in series finale to USC, 4-3
Squandered chances doomed the JU baseball team in a 4-3 loss to Southern California in the series finale at Dedeaux Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Dolphins (0-3) stranded 14 runners in the loss, including bases loaded in three of the final four innings. The Trojans (3-0) picked up the game-winning single in the eighth inning which was set up on a two-out error by the Dolphins.

“We didn’t do the little things well today,” JU head coach Terry Alexander said. “We hit great at the plate, but didn’t get the timely hit we needed. It’s just the first series of the year so there is no time to panic. We will build on the bright spots, work on our mistakes and get back after it Tuesday.”

Wyatt Strathan (1-0) got the win in relief for the Trojans after striking out two in 1.1 scoreless frames. Martin Viramonts pitched a scoreless ninth inning to get the save, while Stephan Tarpley struck out nine batters and allowed two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings for the no-decision.

Freshman Jeff Tanner (0-1) allowed the unearned run in the eighth inning to get tagged with the loss for JU. Freshman Alex McRae allowed three runs on seven hits and two strikeouts in seven innings during his debut.

Garrett Stubbs, Matt Foat and Kevin Swick each had multiple hits for the Trojans. Brandon Garcia hit a home run and scored the game-winning run.

Sophomore Chris Anderson had three hits in his first game as designated hitter for the Dolphins. Senior Matt Frank went 2-for-4 with two RBI, while junior Dan Gulbransen recorded two extra-base hits.

Sophomore Jimmy Appleby and Anderson each had consecutive one-out singles for JU in the second inning. Frank followed with a double down the right field, scoring Appleby for the 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the frame, the Trojans had a double, single and a walk to load the bases with no outs. McRae got a first-pitch double play against Sean Spear, but the runner at third scored to tie the contest. McRae struck out James Roberts looking to get out of the inning.

The Trojans gained a 2-1 lead in the third inning as Omar Cotto Lozada scored on a sacrifice bunt from Adam Landecker.

With an out in the fourth inning, Anderson doubled to left field, while Frank followed with a walk. Tarpley quashed the threat by getting Jake Huxtable to hit into an inning-ending double play.

Tarpley retired the next five batters before giving up two-out walk to Appleby in the sixth inning. Nigel Nootbaar relieved Tarpley and allowed a hit to Anderson. Frank followed with a single up to middle to plate Appleby and tie the game. Nootbaar walked Huxtable to load the bases, but Douthit came in and got a fly out to avoid any more damage.

The Dolphins regained a 3-2 advantage in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly from senior Jonathan Murphy to score Gulbransen. JU got bases loaded with two outs, but the Trojans got out of the jam with a strikeout.

Garcia carried the momentum into the bottom of the inning with a leadoff homer to right field to tie the game again. Swick followed with a single and moved to second on ground out. A fly out advanced Swick to third, while the next two batters walked to load the bases. McRae induced a fly out to left field to keep the game tied.

With one-out in the eighth inning, sophomore Taylor Ratliff singled to center field. After a strikeout, Gulbransen and junior Adam Brett Walker each walked. The Trojans got Murphy to fly out to leave the bases loaded for the third straight inning.

Tanner got the first two outs of the eighth inning. Garcia hit a fly ball to shallow left field that the Dolphins dropped and overthrew back into infield which allowed him to read third. Swick plated Garcia with a hit to right field, while Viramontes pitched a scoreless ninth inning to secure the win.

The Dolphins head back to the East Coast to face Florida State on Tuesday in Tallahassee, Fla. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. and can be heard live on 1010XL.